Chip Conley: The Most Neglected Fact in Business is That We Are All Human


Chip-conley (2)Chip Conley was the next to the last speaker on the TEDxBerkeley stage last weekend, the event which nearly sold out at nearly 1,300 attendees in Zellerbach Hall.

Most known as the founder and CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, California’s largest boutique hotel company which was founded in 1987, he has been focusing on building transformational leadership practices, and an innovative design formula that enables customers to experience an “identity refreshment.”

He talked about despair and used examples from his personal life. Within a very short period of time, a few people he knew (men between 46 and 50 years old) committed suicide. Despair, he says is suffering minus meaning. And, happiness he asserts is gratitude over gratification.

He has been studying happiness in Bhutan. The east teaches us that happiness is not about force and control, but about letting go. Happiness is about being happy about what you have not longing for what you don’t have; in other words, gratitude and the act of gratitude.

He throws up a slide that reads:

Happiness = Practice + Pursuit

If you read about pursuit in the dictionary, its to chase with hostility. He asks with intention, “do we chase happiness with hostility in this country?” Ya think? All the time baby, especially in Silicon Valley and New York.

He then asks with even more intention and conviction:

What are you Running From ? (the addiction)


What are you Living For? (your purpose)

Up comes another slide. Hmmm, I can’t say I didn’t resonate with this one.

Anxiety = Certainty x Powerlessness

All of these are wrapped around fear and fear is one of the most contagious forces we face in our lives. When we live in fear, and in a state of anxiety, we focus on what we know and what we can control. Yet, one thing I have most certainly learned is that human consciousness and control don’t work very well together.

Ahhh, this one is good since its about innocence and fun.

Curiosity = Wonder + Awe

When we were children, we were always in a state of wonder. When we are in our eighties, we are in a state of awe and in between those two bookends, we lose our curiosity.

Says Chip, “there’s a window between 46 and 50 years of age and in that window, people feel like they’re on a freeway and want to escape more than any other time in their lives.”

He talked about emotional intelligence and Daniel Golerman’s book Emotional intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Two thirds of successful people in business succeed because of emotional intelligence and only one third succeed intelligence.

So, Chip suggests that if two thirds of business leadership success is due to emotional intelligence, maybe two thirds of corporate university training should relate to and get people in touch with our emotions.

Hear hear Chip. People clap. Below is a quote that describes how he looks at leadership:

He also asserts that its time to evaluate performance differently, performance that is perhaps based upon both results and relationships rather than just results. As most of us who have worked in traditional companies know, you tend to get judged based on your results only.

So perhaps we need to retrain MBAs to know that they don’t have to be superhuman to become CEO, which is how he lived his life for awhile, and how most over achievers live their lives in all corners of the world today. “It’s not about being superhuman,” he says, “it’s really about being a SUPER HUMAN.” Chip adds, “the most neglected fact in business is that we are all human.”

See his TED 2010 talk here.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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0 Responses to Chip Conley: The Most Neglected Fact in Business is That We Are All Human

  1. Mark lammers March 3, 2011 at 4:37 am #

    Business can be transformational and happiness is common in every experience.
    Anxiety seems to be about certainty wrapped in fear.
    This helped me put the vision back into my business

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